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Liver Transplant


Pediatric Liver Transplant

If your child requires a life-saving liver transplant, you want care you can trust, from the most experienced team you can find.

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To date, our team at UCLA has performed more than 900 pediatric liver transplants, making the program one of the largest, most experienced of its kind in the world. The Pediatric Hepatology Division at UCLA is also among the most established in the nation from both a clinical and research standpoint.

Such expertise and experience means our Pediatric Liver Transplant Program is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the field, with excellent one-year patient survival rates.

The UCLA Pediatric Liver Transplant Program offers consultation, evaluation and treatment for children in liver failure who may require transplantation.

Highly Specialized Pediatric Liver Transplantation

Our tremendous expertise in pediatric liver transplantation means we can support liver transplant patients through the spectrum of care, from liver disease through transplantation and beyond:

  • Team approach to liver transplant care: Our team takes a cohesive, team approach, involving pediatric gastroenterologists and liver transplant surgeons, with consultation from a full range of pediatric sub-specialties for pre- and post-transplant conditions. Meet our team.
  • Expertise in pediatric transplant techniques: Over the past two decades, UCLA has helped pioneer the expansion of available allografts and donor options through the development of novel surgical techniques. These techniques include performing reduced-size cadaveric liver transplant since 1990, as well as adult-to-child living donor liver transplant and cadaveric split-liver transplant, both available since 1992.
  • Pediatric-to-adult transition: Together, Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center provide transplantation and follow-up care for patients from birth through adulthood. We treat all patients in one facility, with one collaborative medical team. Our specialized process guides patients and families through the transition to adult care.

  • Top-ranked patient care: Our patients benefit from the technology and sophisticated services of UCLA Health, which consistently ranks Best in the West and among the top hospitals in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals survey.

Caring for Children Before, During and After Liver Transplant

When your child is sick, you want to do everything in your power to help. We understand how difficult it can be on the entire family to put a child on an organ donation waiting list. Our team is here to help you with information and support at every step of your treatment journey.

We work to make the transplant experience as seamless as possible for your child and your family:

  • We connect your family with others who have experienced a similar journey.

  • Whenever feasible, we prefer patients to remain in the comfort of home as long as possible before transplant.

  • Following a transplant, patients usually stay in the hospital for three weeks. Our patient care teams work with families to find options for lodging and other resources. Learn more about patient education.

Throughout the transplant process, we build a bond with patients and families. We work hard to meet your child's medical and social needs, with help from the Department of Pediatrics' Child Life Specialists. These specialists help your family learn how to manage post-transplant and through the rehabilitation process.

Together, we can handle challenging life events that can affect your child's health and well-being.

Learn more about the liver transplantation procedure in children.

Clinical Innovation, Research and Trials

We are always working to develop and advance new approaches to help pediatric patients. Some of our recent and ongoing work includes:

  • Pioneering the expansion of available donor organs through new surgical techniques:
    • Reduced-sized cadaveric allografts: Since 1990, we have used this surgical technique to use part of a donor organ to bring life-extending transplant to a larger number of pediatric patients.
    • Adult-to-child living donor liver transplant: This surgery, available at UCLA since 1992, allows a living donor - often a relative or friend - to donate part of the liver to a transplant recipient. Read more about living donor liver transplant.
    • Split-liver allografts: This surgery uses one cadaveric (deceased) donor liver to provide a liver donation to two patients. We have performed this procedure since 1992.
    • Continuing to advance multiple-organ transplantation in the pediatric population, such as liver-heart transplant.
    • Hosting one of the premier laboratories for clinical immunology, studying new ways to monitor potential organ rejection.

Learn more about our research and trials.

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